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Posted by NoobRc | Oct 16, 2017 @ 06:12 PM | 1,401 Views
It was under perfect field conditions that i crashed my gas Slick 74 that i had come to love so much. Lost orientation about 30 feet right in front of me and with the plane hovering 20 feet above the runway.

I spent a few weeks pushing my skills with 60 electrics and then decided to build an Electric version of the Slick 74. Why electric? Winter is coming - i feel more comfortable getting an electric plane rather than a gas plane on skis.

Kit arrived this past Thursday. I had originally planned to build it over a few weeks but this Noob can only stare at a kit for so long! So i built it in a day and half but took my time to really figure out the nuances of the bigger electrics, since this is my first electric bigger than EF 60.

Here are the build pics with some notes. I will add some final pics after the maiden on Tuesday Oct 17 (hopefully). The idea with these pics is to make it easy for another Noob to understand what could be done.

Super simple build:

XPWR 30 motor
Castle Edge HV 80A ESC
Castle BEC Pro
Jeti MUI 75 telemetry (flight pack V, A, and MAH consumed)
Jeti R7 Plus receiver
MKS 1220 servos
EF Servo arms and servo extension
EF CF spinner
EF Blazing Star Long stand off
Taildragger RC tail wheel
Scorpion battery straps
- No switches, satellites, or other batts.

I did make sure to upgrade the firmware on all the electronics just to be safe. It is also easy and recommended to set up the ESC with the Castle Link vs. via radio...Continue Reading
Posted by NoobRc | Aug 04, 2017 @ 03:20 PM | 2,035 Views
Wow,

After taking my "jack of all planes" position seriously and with a lot of advice and help, i charted out a new course to start mastering RC basics.

First i got a pair of EF 60 Yaks identically set up, and worked my best to get the CG perfect, the throws, DR and expo perfect (to my liking anyway). I practiced on those for a couple of weeks until i got really comfortable with a CG that was neutral, and working at high throws and high expo pretty much all the time.

I also found an incredible instructor just out of luck. The president of a club i fly out of, knew of this amazing pilot, a college student who was back for a few weeks during the summer and was open to providing some formal tutoring. This instructor started on RC when he was 8, and by 20 he is truly distinguished. I have spent several sessions with him now, pushing my skills, going back home and working on the sim, back again, etc. It has really made a world of a difference to me. My instructor is not extremely capable, he can easily replicate every error i make, however subtle, and then show me how to avoid it. That has been invaluable.

Then i hit a wall again! This time, it had to do mostly with ergonomics. I have been flying a standard radio, with a smooth throttle with no friction, and very little tension on the sticks. I realized that i simply could not avoid coupling / mixing aileron to elevator, or rudder to throttle. It was very frustrating. I mean i fly well and...Continue Reading
Posted by NoobRc | Jul 06, 2017 @ 03:32 PM | 2,738 Views
After 20 months of RC, starting with the Apprentice 15e, thats where i find myself.. a jack who can fly any plane but a master of no plane.

Months 0 - 6: learn to fly and not to crash- lets say 10 to 15 planes to round it out..
Months 7 - 10: 48 and 60 inch ExtremeFlight electrics (48 MXS, 48 Extra EPP, 60 MXS, 60 Extra, 60 Edge)
Months 11 - 12: Extremeflight Gas (83 MXS)
Months 13 - 15: Back to 60 inch ExtremeFlight electrics to fly in winter with skis on ice and snow (60 Edge Demonstrator, 60 MXS, 60 Extra, 84 TBM)
Months 16 - 20: ExtremeFlight Gas - 74 Slick, 110 Yak, 104 MXS

??

My primary motivation to go from electric to gas was to gain more flight time to practice (15 to 20 mins vs. 6 mins per flight), and I was tired of charging batteries all the time. And bigger planes do fly better.. maybe subconsciously i was hoping my skills would go further with bigger planes

So i got what i wanted, and now i can fly all of these planes ok. But I kept hitting a road block with my skills. I can do basic 3D, but not like an expert. I pushed myself on the sim, more and more stick time. Diminishing returns. I was getting a little frustrated. I know i have the eagerness to learn and my thumbs are pretty smart.. i can do amazing stunts with my electric foamie i fly in my front yard.

I have no coach or mentor in the real world. No local expert I have found so far to guide me. I have done as much as I can with youtube videos and asking on the forums. The...Continue Reading
Posted by NoobRc | Jun 06, 2017 @ 04:56 PM | 3,933 Views
My yellow / blue MXS 104 kit arrived in great shape and promptly delivered by Old Dominion! The next chapter begins!
Posted by NoobRc | May 12, 2017 @ 07:09 PM | 5,979 Views
To date all my gas planes have been 7X frames, single cylinder. I got the inspiration for going to a bigger plane after i flew a friend's EF Extra 91 with a DA70. Man those twin cylinder engines are so good!

So i started doing some research online, and talking with experts. I settled on an EF Yak 110. I just recently got an EF Yak 60 electric, and i simply adore it. Its one of the last 60 electrics I purchased, and it was clearly saving the best for last. I love the way a Yak flies nd I think the cowl adds some character. I am going to capture my build here, editing and appending the post as I go. I will include a final bill of materials when i am done.

All Days Indicated as Calendar Days (not the days i worked on the plane), with Day 0 being the day the boxes arrived!

Day Minus 2:

I received the Jeti receiver system a couple days prior to the plane arriving. I am going with a Central Box 200 with 3 receivers - this includes a receiver for remote power on / off. I really love this feature.

> Set up a model in my Jeti DS16, copying from my Slick 79. Zeroed out all the trims and sub trims. The Yak 110 requires 2 servos per aileron, 1 servo per stab half, and one for rudder. Changed main wing configuration to 2 flap 4 ailerons. In the servo assignment, added ailerons 3 and 4, and deleted the flap mapping. You don't have an option of simply selecting 4 ailerons without 2 flaps, hence the work around.

> Bound all 3 receivers and did...Continue Reading
Posted by NoobRc | Apr 22, 2017 @ 10:33 AM | 4,649 Views
This post covers some notes I made on maintaining gas set ups that other Noobs like me might find useful. Thanks to Neil (msgnfg) on RCG for sharing some ideas as well. I covered some specifics of a MXS 76 gas install in my previous blog post.

1. Throttle servo - takes careful effort to get right the first time. Really good to keep checking that the servo is firmly mounted, the ball links are secure with no slack on either end, and servo arm is not coming loose for any reason. Anecdotally, this appears to be the most frequent issue when gassers run into trouble of any kind - dead sticks, inconsistent idle, strange throttle response, etc.

2. Muffler - check both bolts at least after every few flights initially. If it is staying very solid, you don't need to keep checking. If it gets even a little bit loose after multiple flights after re-tightening - redo the install (polish with fine sandpaper, use high temp ATV, nordlocks if available, etc).

3. Fuel line - check no chafing where it exits firewall

4. Servo leads connected to ignition, BEC, and receiver.. triple check they are tight. I use tape to hold the servo leads to the receiver and ignition. So I can just quickly check that the tape is holding.

5. If using inline filter between tank and engine - make sure real tight.. (I add some tape to hold it solid)

6. Clunk and other lines - nothing loose (just replace after 2 seasons?)

7. If using pull -pull, check that no excessive wear and no excessive...Continue Reading
Posted by NoobRc | Apr 21, 2017 @ 07:49 PM | 4,866 Views
So I have been flying gas planes now for a few months.

My very first gas plane was a Red / White / Blue MXS 76 (83) by Extreme Flight. Crashed it on the first day. I ran out of fuel far from the run way after mis-reading how to gage a tank full based on the return line. Somebody who wasn't quite the expert had instructed me to see the fuel in the return line (without opening the canopy, stupidly). Hard lesson. Since then I open the canopy after every refill to make sure the tank is indeed full.

In terms of gas planes, now I own two ExtremeFlight MXS 76 (Red White Blue and Yellow Blue). Also own an ExtremeFlight Slick 79 and the latest exciting plane from ExtremeFlight - Slick 74 EXP.

I have learnt a lot in this last few months about building and flying gas planes, although what I know is still a small fraction of what experts know.

My first gas MXS I made a lot of mistakes but it still flew fine. Now I can build them much better. So I decided to go back and fix up a few things with my first MXS - things like the throttle servo set up, upgrading the receiver systems, etc.

Somebody on RCG asked me to capture detailed pictures of the gas specific items since he is considering the MXS 76, so that's what I have done below. I will make a separate blog entry on run time maintenance for gas planes that Noobs like me will find useful.

As caveat, I am not an expert. However, I have had zero problems in about 150+ flights with gas planes so far, so...Continue Reading
Posted by NoobRc | Nov 22, 2016 @ 07:05 AM | 5,521 Views
One thing that surprises many is how crashes seem to suddenly go up even as you gain more experience with the trainer and getting ready to solo. In fact based on the 10 or so students I have helped and from my own experience - there is a simple crash curve and it repeats as you scale up your skills.

Phase 1 - no crash, happy to go home: When you are new to the hobby and flying with a buddy box - your initial focus is on steady flights at reasonable altitude. Your instructor maintains recoverable control at all times. So there are no crashes.

Phase 2 - a crash nearly every session: once you master the basics of flying around, it's time to start practicing approaches - after you do those well, try the landings. This is ofcourse the riskiest part of your training. Your instructor has very little time to recover as the plane gets close to the ground. Suddenly it feels like everything is going wrong - you are crashing more often and lucky to go back home without some repair necessary.

From an instructor's standpoint -this is a delicate balance between playing it very safe and letting you take some risks and learn. So it's inevitable that you will likely crash a lot more even as you are getting better with RC.

I discuss this with my students and give them a choice. I can almost guarantee a recovery with any approach or landing - or I can let them try and recover on their own (as long as it is still safe). Safety first ofcourse.

What helps you the...Continue Reading
Posted by NoobRc | Nov 21, 2016 @ 10:43 PM | 5,588 Views
Assuming you are following the steps I recommended in my previous article, it is easy to get your wings. But you will need to focus.

The instructor:

Most clubs i have been to - struggle with matching instructors to students. This is after all a volunteered service in a hobby - and demand peaks in the spring and summer.

My advice: Be polite and persistent, and don't hesitate to call your designated instructor about scheduling time if they are open to receiving calls. At the field, don't wait for an instructor to come to you. Ask a designated instructor when they can fly with you. Some clubs will let experienced members fly with students on buddy box, especially to practice specific things. Ask them, and in summary - don't be bashful. If you have the opportunity to fly with different instructors - do so. It may open your eyes to other observations and techniques. In my case, i learnt 70% of what i needed from two sessions with a second instructor, after 4 sessions with my first instructor were not as helpful. Different styles of teaching, and different points of emphasis.

Your sessions:

Some instructors like to get students in the air and get them to fly around in circles, session after session. Useful but not so much. Its critical to have a specific goal for every session, and a clear definition of success, especially after your first few sessions of general orientation, field rules, flight rules, etc. Practicing loops, practicing turns...Continue Reading
Posted by NoobRc | Nov 21, 2016 @ 09:54 PM | 5,642 Views
This week marks my first year anniversary in the RC world, when i first got to a field with an instructor and an Apprentice 15e trainer.

Yesterday, I was (surprisingly to me) nominated and unanimously voted in as VP of one of the larger clubs in the Boston area, with over 120 active members.

As I reflect on this incredible year in the hobby, I wanted to capture and share some thoughts before I forget. I am also planning to upgrade our club's instructor program, and more students will be joining us. So I am hoping over time, that this will serve as a personal reference i can direct some of my students to.

In this first post, I want to capture some thoughts on starting training. Even in my first year in RC, I have trained over 10 students with various levels of backgrounds, commitments, and with very different attitudes about training. And working with these students has taught me a lot.

In general, you get what you put into the hobby. If you invest enough initially to get through the learning curve, you have a life time of fun. Some people get dejected by challenged beginnings and give up. I was there a couple of times in my first year.. but keep at it, you will get some great rewards from this hobby.

Equipment and software spend:

You generally get what you pay for in the RC world. A good simulator program, a really good radio (if you are committed to the hobby) and a simple sturdy 4 channel trainer are an absolute must to progress in a predictable manner....Continue Reading